Quercus imprint MacLehose Press has signed BBC Africa editor Andrew Harding’s “shocking and devastating” true crime account of the deaths of two farm labourers in South Africa.
Publisher Christopher MacLehose acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding South Africa and Zimbabwe, to These Are Not Gentle People from Rebecca Carter at Janklow & Nesbit. The title will be published in hardback and e-book on 19th September.
These Are Not Gentle People tells the story of two farm labourers, Samuel Tjexa and Seun Tangasha, on one summer evening in 2016 in Parys, a small town in the Free State, and a 90-minute drive from Johannesburg. More than 40 white farmers were present at the scene of the crime, with five of them, and one investigating police officer, being put on trial. Harding was present throughout the trial, meeting and speaking to those involved, including the mother of one victim, the white farmers’ families, the judge and police officers. The verdict is due on 8th July.
MacLehose said: “Andrew Harding has written a masterpiece of true crime which will be a landmark in its genre and in the history of post-Apartheid South Africa. Comparisons will be made to In Cold Blood, but this exceptional book sets a new standard in the field of crime reportage.”
Formerly a freelancer with the Guardian and the Economist, Harding has been a journalist with BBC News since 1994, most recently based in Johannesburg. He is currently producing a series for Radio 4 about the trial which will go live in the week commencing 22nd July.
He said: “This is a peculiarly South African tale about a frenzied double murder and its bitter aftermath. But These Are Not Gentle People is also, I hope, a thriller, an exploration of rage and betrayal, and a twisting human story that will appeal to a wide audience. I’m delighted that MacLehose Press is publishing it in the UK.”